British drivers and cars had a bright start at Le Mans – but then there were some torrid moments.

The most torrid of all was the crash endured by Anthony Davidson at the Mulsanne Corner, while in contention for the lead. He was passing a much slower Ferrari running in the lowest class, GTE-Am (for amateur drivers), when the Ferrari appeared to move across the track and sideswipe him. It is not clear if the Ferrari driver Piergiuseppe Perazzini simply failed to see Davidson. Davidson's Toyota took off and sailed through the air, looking terrifyingly like a paper plane, before crashing into the barrier.

It has since been confirmed that Davidson has broken his T11 and T12 vertebrae, which are expected to heal fully in approximately three months. Davidson said on Twitter, "Well that was a big one! Lying in a French hospital with a broken back wasn't what I had in mind at this stage in the race..."

Amongst the other British contenders, the Aston Martin Vantage GTE had a generally encouraging weekend in its first outing. It achieved the fastest lap in its class, and had the pace of the Ferraris, although it suffered from high fuel consumption which limited its range (something Aston owners may be able to sympathise with). A crash at Indianapolis corner cost it 10 minutes and meant that third place in the class was the best it could expect.

Meanwhile, TV commentator and former F1 star, Martin Brundle was racing with his son in a Zytek Nissan. The good news is that they did finish, but the bad news is that it was 8th in class and 15th overall, following a series of niggling problems throughout the race.